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Master of Divinity Requirements

Admissions Requirements

  1. For regular admission, applicants must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree or equivalent with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 or better (on a 4-point scale) from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university. The Divinity School will consider for provisional admission a limited number of applicants to who do not meet all of these requirements. In such cases, the school may require admitted students to complete undergraduate or graduate courses in addition to the regular requirements.
  2. International applicants must meet the requirements of the university for English-language competence.
  3. Students may transfer up to 68 units from an approved graduate or graduate professional program in another university or seminary.

Course Requirements

A. Research and Writing 4

  • RELG 510 Research and Writing in Religion (4)

B. Biblical Languages 0-81

  • RELL 504 Linguistic Tools for Pastoral Ministry:

Hebrew (4) or general program elective (4)

  • RELL 505 Linguistic Tools for Pastoral Ministry: Greek (4) or general program elective (4)

C. Biblical Studies 16

  • RELB 501 The Old Testament & Its Communities (4) or elective in Old Testament studies (4)2
  • RELB 511 Interpreting OT Texts (4)
  • RELB 502 The New Testament & Its Communities (4) or elective in New Testament studies (4)2
  • RELB 512 Interpreting NT Texts (4)

D. Christian Ethics 8

  • RELE 504 Christianity and Culture (4) or elective in ethics (4)2
  • RELE 514 Christian Social Ethics (4)

E. Christian Theology 16

  • RELT 504 Principles of Christian Theology (4) or elective in theology (4)2
  • RELT 514 Systematic Theology (4)
  • RELT 515 Contemporary Issues in Theology (4) or elective in theology (4)
  • RELT 545 Christian Faith in the Modern World (4) or elective in theology (4)

F. History of Christianity 8

  • RELH 504 A Survey History of Christianity (4) or elective in the history of Christianity (4)2
  • RELH 514 Studies in the History of Christianity (4)

G. Seventh-day Adventist Studies (12)3

  • RELH 506 History of Seventh-day Adventism (4) or elective in Adventist studies (4)
  • RELT 516 Seventh-day Adventist Theology (4)
  • RELT 556 Issues in SDA Theology (4) or elective in Adventist studies (4)
  • RELH 586 The Life and Thought of Ellen White (4) or elective in Adventist studies (4)

H. World Religions 4

  • RELG 501 The Study of Religion: Theory & Practice (4)9 or if equivalently prepared
  • RELG 511 The Religions of the World (4)

I. Pastoral Ministry (56)4

  • RELP 504 The Calling and Spiritual Identity of the Pastor (4)5, and/or
  • RELP 514 Practical Theology (4)6
  • RELP 591 Ministry Practice and Project (4), or RELP 592 (4) or RELP 593 (4)
  • RELP 595 Fieldwork in Pastoral Ministry (1)

The balance required must be selected from RELP/M courses (see course listing).

J. Electives (4-12)7

Total 136

Other Notes, Requirements and Regulations

1. The director of graduate programs for the Divinity School will assign students advisors appropriate to their programs.

2. Full- time students will enroll in a maximum of 4 courses (16 units) per quarter.

3. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.00 or better, with no individual course grade lower than C counting for credit.

4. Concentrations: Students who have sufficient electives available may cluster them in one or more emphases (16-20 units; i.e. 4-5 courses), or specializations (24-28, or more, units; i.e. 6-7 courses)8. While a concentration in the traditional theological disciplines (areas A-H) is possible (e.g. an emphasis), specialization is more likely in the area of Pastoral Ministry (area I), given the number of required units and the wide scope for electives. See below for further details on potential concentrations.

5. Any emphasis, concentration, or interdisciplinary specialization earned and certified in the MTS program can be fully transferable to the MDiv program and appear as such in the student's transcript, if they are admitted to the MDiv within five years of completion of the MTS and opt to upgrade the MTS to the MDiv degree (which requires the turning in of the former diploma).

Further Elaboration of Concentration Possiblities

More specifically, the program provides:

1.    Opportunity for a concentration9 in an aspect of pastoral ministry, such as:

Youth Ministry; Family Ministry; Cross-Cultural and Urban Ministries; Preaching; Ministry in a Post-Modern Context; Cross-Cultural Missions; Creative Evangelism; Relief and Development; Community Service; and Social Justice.

2.     Opportunity for an interdisciplinary concentration or specialization, such as:

  • Pastoral Counseling (in collaboration with the School of Education; the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences; Loma Linda University, and the national Clinical Pastoral Education—CPE program)
  • Chaplaincy (in collaboration with Adventist Health Systems & Loma Linda University)
  • Ministry and the Arts (in collaboration with the graduate program of the Department of English and Communication; and the Departments of Art, and Music, in the College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Religious Education (in collaboration with the School of Education; with the option of obtaining a teaching credential)
  • Pastoral Leadership & Management (in collaboration with the School of Business)
  • Christian Philanthropy (in collaboration with the School of Business, and the La Sierra University Center for Philanthropy)
  • Worship and Music (in collaboration with the Department of Music of the College of Arts and Sciences)

3.     Opportunity for inter-institutional enrichment of the program. Students may transfer up to half       of their program requirements from other appropriate and accredited institutions on a course by course basis.



  1. Students who have completed an undergraduate course in Biblical Hebrew of at least 3 quarter units or equivalent with a grade of B or better will take the 4-unit elective. Those who have completed 6 units of an undergraduate course in Beginning New Testament Greek or equivalent with a grade of B or better will take the 4-unit elective.
  2. Students who have completed a comparable undergraduate introductory or survey course in this discipline of at least 4 quarter units or equivalent with a grade of B or better will take the 4-unit elective (or required core course).
  3. Students whose faith tradition differs from that of the Seventh-day Adventist Church may substitute 12 units of courses from their own tradition with the approval of the director of graduate programs.
  4. Students electing to do a concentration (i.e. emphasis, interdisciplinary or collaborative specialization) must work out a “Concentration Contract” with their advisor, specifying all courses that will go towards making up the concentration, before commencing with this part of their degree. This must be signed by the director of graduate programs (and in the case of an interdisciplinary concentration, by the Dean or Associate Dean) before commencement of the concentration components of the degree. Guideline sheets with sample curricula are available for these concentrations.
  5. This foundational course should only be taken by those without a religion/theology undergraduate, or career background.
  6. All MDiv students will take this required core class.
  7. Students who must take both linguistic tools courses will have 4 general program elective units. Those who must take only one will have eight general program elective units. Others will have 12 general program elective units. These electives can be taken in any of the nine disciplinary areas of study. The general program electives are over-and-above any discipline specific electives that a student might have due to undergraduate preparation.
  8. The following are examples of potential concentrations offered through the Divinity School: Biblical Languages, Christian ethics, Christian theology, history of Christianity, New Testament, Old Testament, pastoral counseling, pastoral leadership, preaching and worship, youth and young adult ministry. The following are examples of concentrations offered in cooperation with other schools of the university: Christian (Religious) education, worship and the arts, sacred music, pastoral leadership and management, philanthropy, and social justice. Students may obtain the requirements and course suggestions for concentrations from the Office of the Divinity School or the director of graduate programs.
  9. Students can elect to do an emphases (16-20 units; i.e. 4-5 courses) or specialization (24-28, or more units, i.e. 6-7 courses).

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